The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia

8 What Can Be Done?

1. In 1965 there were 57,199 known addicts. Using standard conversion ratios for years past, this yields an estimated addict population of 150,000. (Bureau of Narcotics, U.S. Treasury Department, Traffic in Opium and Other Dangerous Drugs for the Year Ending Dec-ember 31, 1965 [Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1966], p. 45.)

2. Statement of John E. Ingersoll, Director, U.S. Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, U.S. Department of Justice, before the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, New York City, February 24, 1972, p. 5.

3. In May 1970 one research organization reported: "Until recently, middle-class drug users almost always stayed away from heroin. In the last year there has been a sizeable increase in various parts of the country in the number of middle-class drug users who are willing to try heroin. . . . It is reasonable to expect that within a few years in any community of heavy drug users a noticeable percent will try heroin, and some smaller percent will become addicted." (Max Singer, Project Leader, Policy Concerning Drug Abuse in New York State [Croton-onHudson, N.Y.: Hudson Institute, May 31, 1970] 1, 27.)

4. The New York Times, June 11, 1971, p. 1.

5. ]bid., July 23, 1971, p. 1.

6. Singer, Policy Concerning Drug Abuse in New York State, p. 61. One Congressional study group estimated that the national total for property stolen by heroin addicts was $7.5 million a day, or $2.7 billion a year. (Morgan F. Murphy and Robert H. Steele, The World Heroin Problem, 92nd Cong., Ist sess. [Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, May 1971], erratum sheet p. 4.)

7. In 1969 the British government reported to the U.N. that there were 2,782 known addicts during the year 1968. Reliable sources in Great Britain feel that there may be as many as twice that number of practicing addicts who maintain their habits buying from registered addicts or regular pushers. (Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, "Report to the United Nations," mimeographed [London, 1969], p. 5.)

8. Whitman Knapp, Chairman, Commission to Investigate Alleged Police Corruption, "Interim Report on Investigative Phase," Xeroxed (New York; July 1971 ), p. 4; The New York Times, October 28, 197 1, p. 1. In 1968, thirty-two agents of the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics were forced to resign after a Justice Department investigation showed that they were selling confiscated heroin and accepting bribes from known traffickers (ibid., December 14, 1968, p. 1).

9. The New York Times, June 18, 1971.

10. Before the eradication of illicit opium production can become completely effective, illicit poppy fields in Afghanistan and Pakistan would have to be eliminated. Together these two nations account for about 24 percent of the world's illicit opium production. Although only small quantities of South Asian opium get beyond local markets, it is quite possible that Afghanistan and Pakistan might become America's major source of opiates if production in Southeast Asia were eradicated. There is also a possibility that opium might be diverted from legal Iranian and Indian production to supply American markets once Southeast Asia's illicit production is eliminated. In this case, it would probably be wise to urge these governments to eliminate legal opium production (Murphy and Steele, The World Heroin Problem, p. 17; The New York Times, July 1, 1971, p. 1).

Once legal production in India and Iran is abolished, the international pharmaceutical industry will have to find an alternate source of opium for the production of medical morphine, one of the best pain killers known to modern medicine. The Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China have been able to produce opium for medical purposes without significant diversion, and they could become an alternate source of supply. Also, the Tasmanian state government in Australia has introduced large-scale mechanized poppy cultivation with fairly strict controls, and is currently supplying several British pharmaceutical firms (see The Nation [Australia], April 6, 1963, p. 12; A. G. Allen and B. D. Frappell, "The Production of Oil Poppies," Tasmania Journal of Agriculture, May 1970, pp. 89-94).

11. The New York Times, July 24, 1972, p. 1.

12. Newsweek, July 19, 1971, pp. 23-24.

13. The New York Times, July 1. 1971, p. 1.